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Author . 



16— ♦7373-2  aPO 





Merrick,  Long  Island, 


Written  for  the  Merrick  Library 



The  Merrick  library, 



S    Oo 


^  u^'i 

p.  F.  McBreen  &  Sons, 


218  William  Street, 

New  York. 






IN    ITS 







The  Author. 



Here   in   the    Country s   heart 
Where  the  grass   is  green, 

Life   is   the   same   sweet   life 
As   it   e'er   hath    been. 

Trust  in   a   God  still   lives 
And  the   hell  at   morn 

Floats  with   a   thought   of  God 
O'er   the   rising   corn. 

God   comes   down   in   the   rain 
And   the   crop   grows   tall  ; 

This   is   the   country  faith. 
And   the   best   of  all. 

—Norman  R.  Gale. 


"Out  on  Long  Island,"  is  a  phrase  which  to  dwellers  in 
Manhattan  and  Brooklyn  is  synonymous  with  pure  air,  temperate 
climate  and  fresh  ocean  breezes.  Long  Island  is  the  natural 
suburb  of  these  two  great  cities,  and  offers  so  many  advantages 
to  summer  residents  and  for  permanent  homes,  that  its  capacity 
in  some  parts  has  already  been  reached,  while  new  villages  or 
settlements  are  constantly  springing  up.  The  writer  selected 
his  summer  home  upon  the  South  Side,  in  Merrick,  nearly  ten 
years  ago.  His  subsequent  experience  there  has  proved  he 
then  made  no  mistake.  A  love  for  the  place,  with  an  ever 
growing  desire  to  do  it  justice  is  his  excuse  for  all  that  follows. 

During  the  progress  of  the  work  he  has  consulted  and  now 
quotes  from:  Histories  of  Long  Island,  by  Nathaniel  S.  Prime, 
Benjamin  F.  Thompson,  and  Silas  Wood;  Colonial  History  of 
New  York,  American  Archives  and  Documentary  History  of 
New  York  (Lenox  Library);  History  of  New  York,  by  Thomas 
Jones ;  Legends  of  Fire  Island  Beach,  Edward  Richardson  ; 
Colonial  Documents  (Union  League  Club);  McMaster's  History 
of  the  People;  Disosway's  Early  Churches,  and  Daniel  Neal's 
History  of  New  England. 

In  giving  copies  from  old  documents  the  original  spelling 
has  been  preserved. 

The  author  is  indebted  for  valuable  information  to  Mrs. 
Elijah  Smith,  Mr.  Gilbert  Smith,  Mr.  George  T.  Hewlett,  Mr. 
William  E.  Hewlett,  Mr.  Frank  Miller  and  Mr.  Chauncey 
Smith  to  all  of  whom  he  acknowledges  his  obligations  with 
many  thanks. 


Merrick,  September,  1900. 



Chapter      I.  Introductory ii 

II.  Early  Settlement  and  Name 14 

III.  Land  Titles 16 

IV,  The  Indians  on  Long  Island  21 

V.  The  Merrick  Indians 23 

VI.  Early  Settlers 26 

VII.  Land  Divisions 33 

VIII.  The  Will  of  Jonathan  Smith 35 

IX.  Highways 38 

X.  Industries 44 

XI.  Schools 47 

XII.  Churches 49 

XIII.  The  Railroad 56 

XIV.  The  Merrick  Water  Co 58 

XV.  The  Merrick  Library 61 

XVI.  Camp  Meeting  Grounds 64 

XVII.  Retrospective 66 

XVIII.  In  Conclusion ...  69 

Appendix 73 

Index 77 






Land  embraced  within  the  boundaries  of  "Heemp- 
stede"  appeared,  to  English  colonists,  as  early  as  1640, 
most  favorable  for  agricultural  increment,  healthful  sur- 
roundings and  permanent  homes,  of  any  upon  Long  Isl- 
and's shores.  Here  an  attempt  at  colonization  was  ac- 
cordingly made  in  the  spring  of  that  year. 

Winthrop  writes:  "Divers  inhabitants  of  Linne  agreed 
with  Lord  Sterling's  agent,  one  Mr.  Farret,  for  a  parcel 
of  the  isle  near  west  end,  and  agreed  with  the  Indians 
for  their  right."  It  is  elsewhere  recorded  that  they 
"bought  of  Farret  the  privilege  of  buying  of  the  Indians, 
a  tract  eight  miles  square,  in  consideration  of  a  payment 
to  him  of  four  bushels  of  maize."  Unfortunately  for 
this  first  colony,  the  title  of  Lord  Sterling  to  the  whole  of 
Long  Island,  under  an  original  grant  from  James  I,  was 


not  recognized  by  the  Dutch  governor,  Kieft,  who,  in 
1639  purchased  of  the  Manhassetts  "all  land  east  of  the 
Rockaways  to  Fire  Island,  and  north  to  Martin  Gerret- 
sen's  Bay" — now  Great  Neck.  The  Dutch,  moreover, 
being  in  possession,  with  military  power  to  enforce  their 
decrees,  while  Sterling  had  naught  but  his  paper  grant 
from  the  crown,  soon  made  it  too  hot  for  the  "Linne  Set- 
tlers," and  they  were  glad  enough  to  escape  with  their 
lives,  losing  the  four  bushels  of  maize,  which  Farret  de- 
clined to  restore. 

In  Neal's  "History  of  New  England"  (1720)  there  is 
given  the  following  account  of  this  proposed  settlement: 

"The  Inhabitants  of  Lyn  being  -Straitened  for  Room 
went  over  into  Long  Island,  and  having  agreed  with  the 
Lord  Starling's  agent,  and  with  the  Indian  Proprietors, 
they  began  a  Settlement  at  the  West  End  of  it;  but  the 
Dutch  giving  them  a  great  deal  of  disturbance,  they 
deserted  their  Plantation  in  those  Parts  and  settled  to  the 
number  of  an  Hundred  Families  at  the  East  End  of  the 
Island,  where  they  built  the  Town  of  Southampton." 

Reports  concerning  the  land  first  spied  out  by  the 
Linne  people,  the  fertility  of  the  great  plains,  the  large 
tracts  of  woodlands  free  from  underbrush  and  suitable  for 
pasturage,  and  its  delightful  climate  with  health-giving 
properties,  appear  as  we  shall  hereafter  see  in  a  second 
and  successful  attempt  at  colonization  three  years  later. 

The  Indian  names  for  Long  Island  were  Matowacks 
and     Manatey.     Governor      Nicolls,     who     succeeded 


"Dutch  Peter,"  called  it  Yorkshire,  divided  into  three 
ridings.  By  an  act  of  the  Colonial  Assembly,  passed 
April  loth,  1692,  it  was  thereafter  to  be  known  as  Island 
of  Nassau;  but  this  designation  was  repugnant  to  the 
colonists;  although  the  act  has  never  been  repealed  it 
soon  became  obsolete,  and  after  the  lapse  of  years  is 
rarely  met  with,  even  in  legal  documents. 

Hempstead  was  so  called  by  the  emigrants  who  settled 
there,  from  a  town  in  England  known  as  Hemel  Hemp- 
stead; and  was  written  Heetnstede  by  the  Dutch,  from  sev- 
eral villages  of  like  name  in  Holland. 

Merrick  is  in  the  southern  part  of  Hempstead,  on  the 
South  Bay,  east  of  Freeport  and  west  of  Bellmore, 

CHAPTER    11. 


The  township  of  Hempstead  was  the  first  settled  in 
Queens  County.  The  colonists  are  said  to  have  come 
principally  from  Yorkshire  in  England  during  the  reign 
of  King  Charles  I,  "when  both  civil  and  rehgious  liberty 
were  prostrated  by  the  illegal  and  tyrannical  extension  of 
the  royal  prerogative  and  by  the  intolerance  of  the  estab- 
lished church."  They  tarried  for  a  time  in  Wethers- 
field,  Massachusetts,  but  soon  passed  on  to  Stamford, 
Connecticut,  and  from  thence  sixty-six  families  crossed 
the  Sound  to  Hempstead,  in  1643.  Among  them  John 
Carman  and  John  Smith  decided  to  press  on  further 
south.  Carman  got  as  far  as  what  is  now  the  foot  of 
Greenwich  Street  in  Hempstead  Village,  where  he 
pitched  his  camp  and  staked  out  his  future  home;  but 
Smith,  who  appears  to  have  been  of  a  somewhat  more 
venturesome  spirit,  continued  on  his  way  until  he  arrived 
at  the  beautiful  meadow  lands  in  Merrick,  and  saw  be- 
fore him  the  Great  South  Bay.  The  Eldorado  had  been 
reached.  Confident  that  there  could  be  found  no  better 
place,  a  confidence,  which,  it  may  be  safely  said  after  a 
lapse  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  years,  was  not  misplaced, 



he  threw  himself  upon  the  ground  among  the  friendly 
Indians  surrounding  him,  and  declared  his  intention  of 
here  making  his  home.  He  asked  "To  what  tribe  do 
you  belong?"  "Merrick,"  was  the  answer.  "Then," 
said  Smith,  "we  will  name  the  place  Merrick,  and  so  it 
shall  ever  be." 

Thompson,  who  is  regarded  as  the  best  authority  in 
matters  appertaining  to  Long  Island,  writes  the  name 
Merric,  Meroke  and  Mcrikoke.  Flint  prefers  Merikoke 
and  Meroke,  while  the  older  settlers  adhere  to  Merock, 
Meroqiic  and  Merikoke.  Whatever  may  have  been  the 
correct  spelling,  and  doubtless  there  is  authority  for 
each,  the  Merrick  of  to-day  derives  a  clear  title  to  the 
name  from  its  Indian  inhabitants.  The  only  other  like 
geographical  divisions  are  Merrick  County,  Nebraska— 
so  called  after  Elvira  Merrick,  wife  of  Henry  W.  De  Puy, 
speaker  of  the  House,  when  the  county  in  question  was 
organized.  It  is  not  unlikely  that  these  people  were 
sometime  dwellers  upon  our  shores,  and  have  thus  en- 
deavored to  perpetuate  a  recollection  of  their  ancestral 
homes;  and  there  is  also  a  Merrick  in  Massachusetts,  on 
the  Connecticut  River  opposite  Springfield. 

In  old  deeds  and  wills,  one  comes  across  "Little  Mer- 
rick" and  "Greater  Merrick,"  a  distinction  now  quite 
unknown.  Greater  Merrick  included  all  land  west  of 
what  is  now  Merrick  Avenue  to  Mud  Creek;  and  Little 
Merrick  all  land  between  Mud  Creek  and  Merrick 



Smarting  from  oppressions  of  the  English  government 
to  which  they  had  for  so  long  a  time  been  subjected,  our 
colonists  brought  with  them  a  keen  sense  of  right  and 
wrong,  and  a  determination  to  deal  justly  with  all  men. 
Hence,  we  find  them  early  endeavoring  to  obtain  by 
purchase  from  the  Indians  in  possession,  both  an  honor- 
able, and,  so  far  as  possible,  a  legal  title  to  that  part  of  the 
Island  since  known  as  Hempstead;  this  secured,  they 
next  bargained  for  and  were  granted  by  the  Dutch  gov- 
ernor, Kieft,  a  patent  confirming  the  title  and  freeing 
them  from  Dutch  control.  Lord  Sterling's  pretensions, 
under  letters  from  the  crown,  appear  to  have  been  wholly 
ignored,  owing,  doubtless,  to  the  sad  fate  of  those  who 
attempted  a  settlement  in  1640,  and  were  finally  expelled 
by  the  Dutch,  after  losing  their  "four  bushels  of  maize," 
which  was  paid  to  Sterling's  agent. 

Rev.  Robert  Fordham  and  John  Carman  were  selected 
as  agents  to  treat  with  the  Merikoke  and  Marsapeague 
Indians.  An  agreement  was  speedily  made  for  the  pur- 
chase of  land  in  question,  confirmed  by  writings,  duly 
signed.     Payments  were  to  be  made  at  intervals,  and  the 


LAND    TITLES.  I  7 

confirmation  deed  was  to  be  executed  and  delivered, 
when  final  payments,  thus  provided,  had  been  made.  All 
this  accomplished,  the  deed  was  issued  and  delivered  in 
the  words  and  form  following: 

"July  the  4th,  1657.    Stilo  novo. 

"Know  all  men  by  these  Presents,  that  We,  the  In- 
dians of  Marsapege,  Mericock,  and  Rockaway,  whose 
Names  be  underwritten,  for  ourselves,  and  all  the  rest  of 
the  Indians  that  doe  Claime  any  Right  or  Interest  in 
the  Purchase  that  hempsteed  bought  in  the  year  1643. 
And  within  the  bounds  and  limitts  of  the  Whole  tract 
of  Land,  Concluded  upon  with  the  governor  of  Man- 
hatans  as  it  is  in  this  paper  Specified,  Doe,  by  these  p'rs- 
ents,  Ratifie  and  Confirme  to  them  and  their  heires  for- 
ever, freely,  firmly,  quiettly  and  Peaceably,  for  them  and 
their  heires  and  success'rs  for  Ever  to  enjoye  without 
any  Molestacon  or  trouble  from  us,  or  any  that  shall 
pretend  Any  Clayme  or  title  unto  itt. 

"The  Montooke  Sachem  being  present  att  this  con- 

"In  Witness  whereof  Wee,  whose  names  bee  here  un- 
der written,  have  hereunto  subscribed. 

The  Marke  of  Takaposha. 
The  Sachem  of  Marsapeague. 
The  Marke  of  Wantagh. 
The  Montake  Sachem. 
The  Marke  of  Chegone. 

1 8  merrick,  long  island. 

The  Marke  of  Romege. 
The  Marke  of  Wangwang. 
The  Marke  of  Rumasackromen. 

The  Marke  of . 

The  Marke  of  Woronmcacking. 

In  the  presence  of  us, 

Richard  Gildersleeve. 
John  Seaman. 
John  Hicks. 

"Vera  copia  concordans  cum  originalis  scripsit,  per  me, 

John  James,  cler." 

"Wee,  the  Indians  above  written,  doe  hereby  acknowl- 
edge to  have  received  from  the  Magistrates  and  Inhabi- 
tants of  Hempsteed,  all  our  pay  in  full  satisfaction  for 
the  tract  of  land  sould  unto  them,  according  to  the 
above  and  within  written  agreement,  and  according  to 
the  pattent  and  purchase.  The  Gen"  bounds  is  as  fol- 
Voweth:  Beginning  att  a  place  called  Mattagarretts 
Bay  and  soe  running  upon  a  direct  line,  north  and  south 
and  from  north  to  south,  from  Sea  to  Sea,  the  boundes 
running  from  Hempsteede  Harbour  due  east  to  a  pointe 
of  Treese  adjoining  the  lands  of  Robert  Williams,  where 
wee  left  marked  trees,  the  same  line  running  from  Sea 
to  Sea.  The  other  line  beginning  att  a  marked  tree 
Standing  att  east  end  of  the  greate  plaine,  from  that  tree 


and  running  a  due  south  line  and  att  the  South  Sea, 
by  a  Marked  tree,  made  in  a  Neck  called  Maskutchoung 
and  from  thence  upon  the  same  line,  to  the  South  Sea. 
-And  we  whose  names  are  hereunto  subscribed,  do  further 
Ingage  ourselves  and  our  successors,  to  uphold  and 
maintain  this  our  present  act,  and  all  our  former  agree- 
ments to  bee  just  and  lawfull;  that  the  aforesaid  Inhabi- 
tants of  Hempsteed  Shall  Enjoye  the  Said  Lands  ac- 
cording to  the  Equity-marked  bounds  with  all  privileges 
thereunto  Any  way  belonging  or  Appertaining,  for  them, 
their  heires  and  success"  for  Ever.  And  we  doe  binde 
ourselves  to  save  and  defend  them  harmlesse  from  any 
manner  of  Claime  or  pretence  that  shall  bee  made  to 
disturbe  them  in  their  right,  or  any  p''te  thereof,  hereby 
binding  us  and  our  success'"''  to  cause  them  to  Enjoye 
the  same  Peaceably  without  Any  Molestacon  or  Inter- 
rupcon  for  them,  their  heires  and  successr'  for  Ever. 
Whereunto  we  have  subscribed,  this  eleventh  day  of 
May,  anno  1658.  Stilo  novo. 

Waautauch.  Tackapousha. 

Che  Know.  Martom. 

Sayasstock.  Pees  Komach. 

"Subscribed  by  Wacombound,  Montauk  Sachem,  after 
the  death  of  his  father,  this  14th  February,  1660,  being 
a  generall  town  meeting  of  Hempsteed. 

"A  true  coppy,  Compared  with  the  Originall  and  both 
of  them  being  written  by  me.         John  James,  Clerk." 


The  Montauks  claimed  a  somewhat  uncertain  sov- 
ereignty over  all  other  Long  Island  clans,  and,  to  avoid 
any  possible  complications,  our  colonists  insisted  that 
the  deed  in  question  should  also  bear  the  signature  of 
the  great  Montauk,  as  complete  evidence  of  transfer;  so 
Wacombound  comes  to  the  next  town  meeting  and 
makes  his  acknowledgment.  It  will,  of  course,  be  un- 
derstood that  the  signatures  consisted  of  the  grantors' 
written  identification,  the  Chiefs'  marks  being  in  indi- 
vidual forms  as  selected  by  themselves. 

In  November,  1664,  Kieft's  royal  patent  was  issued, 
but  contained  a  condition  precedent  that  one  hundred 
families  should  be  settled  in  the  township  within  five 
years.  The  patent  was  granted  to  Robert  Fordham, 
John  Stricklan,  John  Lamoree,  John  Carman,  John 
Ogden,  and  Jonas  Wood,  but  was  understood  to  em- 
brace the  sixty-six  families  from  Stamford,  and  the  land 
"of  the  Great  Plains  on  Long  Island  from  the  East 
River  to  the  South  Sea  and  from  a  certain  Harbour, 
commonly  called  and  known  as  Hempstead  Harbour, 
and  westward  as  far  as  Martin  Gerretsen's  Bay." 



At  the  time  of  the  first  settlements  by  Dutch  and  Eng- 
Hsh,  there  were  resident  on  Long  Island  thirteen  tribes, 
or,  more  correctly,  clans,  of  Indians,  in  some  degree  de- 
pendent upon  each  other,  all  acknowledging  a  certain 
allegiance  to  the  powerful  Montauks.  There  is  a  gener- 
ally expressed  belief  that  these  Indians  descended  in  a 
direct  line  from  the  Delawares,  but  as  their  language  was 
that  of  the  Narragansetts,  it  is  more  probable  they  were 
an  offshoot  of  the  Algonquin  races  in  New  England. 
They  were  divided  as  follows : 

Canarsee:    Kings  county  and  Jamaica. 

Rockaway:  Rockaway  and  a  part  of  the  adjoining 

Merric  or  Meroke:  From  the  middle  of  the  island, 
south  to  the  bay,  and  from  Rockaway  to  Marsapeague,  or 
to  the  west  line  of  Oyster  Bay. 

Marsapeagiie:  A  part  of  the  same  eastern  land  as  the 
Merokes,  and  extending  into  Suffolk  county. 

Matinecock:  From  Flushing,  through  Queens  county 
to  Fresh  Pond  in  Suffolk  county,  on  the  north  side. 

Nesoquake  or  Nissaqiiogue:  From  Fresh  Pond  to 
Stony  Brook. 


Seatalocot  or  Satauket:  From  Stony  Brook  to  Wading 

Corchang:    From  Wading  River  to  Southold. 

Manhassett  or  Manhanset:    Shelter  Island. 

Secatogne  or  Secatang:  From  the  Marsapeagues  to 

Patchogue:    East  to  Southampton. 

Shinecock  or  Shinecoc:     From  Canoe  Place  to  Mon 

Montauk:    The  Montauk  peninsula. 

As  a  rule  these  various  clans  were  friendly  to  the 
whites,  gave  little  trouble,  and  were  always  ready  for  a 
trade;  but  soon  after  colonization  began,  there  was  a 
noticeable  diminution  in  their  number.  In  an  old  history 
of  New  York,  written  by  Dunton,  now  very  rare  but  ex- 
ceedingly interesting,  it  is  recorded  (1670):  "There  is 
now  but  few  Indians,  and  those  few  no  ways  hurtful.  It 
is  to  be  admired  how  strangely  they  have  decreased,  by 
the  hand  of  God,  since  the  English  first  settling  in  these 



We  have  already  seen  that  our  pioneer  settler,  John 
Smith,   was   cordially   greeted,    upon   his   arrival   at   the 
meadows,  by  the  assembled  Indians,  and  he  seems  ever 
thereafter    to    have    maintained    friendly    relations    with 
them.     Their   camp   was   upon    what   was   called   "The 
Neck,"   and   their   burying   ground   in   the   nearby   field 
which  adjoins  the  property  now  owned  by  Mr.  Hugh  V. 
Roddy,  on  the  west.    There  is  some  authority  for  the  state- 
ment that  the  Merricks  were  a  branch  of  the  Rockaways, 
and  those  writers  who  maintain  this  theory  spell  the  name 
Merock,  indicating  the  latter  syllable  as  derived  from  the 
first  one  in  Rockaway.    But  so  far  as  can  be  learned  the 
Merricks    were    entirely    independent    of    their    western 
neighbors,  although  for  a  long  time  they  paid  tribute  to 
the  Marsapeagues  on  the  east.    Tradition  has  it  that  when 
John  Smith  saw  this  tribute  delivered  he  asked  for  an 
explanation,  and,  on  learning  the  full  story,  told  the  Mer- 
ricks it  was  an  imposition,  and  advised  them  not  to  sub- 
mit  to   any    such    demand.      His   advice   was    followed  j 
further  payments  were   refused,  and  the  angry  Marsa- 
peagues sought  revenge  in  the  slaughter  of  Merrick  pigs, 
sheep  and  cattle.     Again  Smith  came  to  the  rescue.     A 



petition  was  sent  to  the  colonial  governor;  he  referred  it 
to  the  famous  John  Underhill,  who,  with  a  company  of 
infantry,  appeared  at  Fort  Neck,  and  so  effectually  de- 
feated the  Marsapeagues  in  a  pitched  battle  that  they 
never  after  recovered  from  the  blow.  In  an  old  court 
record  (1699)  it  is  stated  that  "the  marriage  of  John 
Underhill,  Jr.,  and  Mary  Prior  is  pronounced  null,  and 
they  are  fined  £5  apiece  for  breach  and  contempt  of  law, 
and  to  pay  iio  more  if  they  shall  not  be  legally  married 
before  the  next  court,  which  being  neglected  they  are 
fined  iio  each."  The  son  appears  to  have  been  a  worthy 
descendant  of  the  Indian  fighter,  John. 

But  the  fate  of  the  Merricks,  like  that  of  all  other  clans, 
was  sealed.  They  are  represented  as  being  of  a  remark- 
ably cheerful  disposition,  so  much  so  as  to  have  gained 
the  sobriquet  of  "the  merry  Indians,"  by  which  name  they 
were  often  designated.  The  last  of  this  race,  Henry 
January,  married,  in  1809,  "Squaw  Betty."  One  child, 
Sarah,  was  born  to  them,  and  she  in  due  time  married  a 
Patchogue  Indian  with  the  somewhat  doubtful  Indian 
name  of  Tom  Strong.  He  came  to  Merrick,  and  together 
they  built  a  little  house  of  logs  in  a  clearing,  less  than 
half  a  mile  northeast  of  the  present  railroad  station.  Tom 
and  Sarah  both  died  of  smallpox  within  a  few  days  of 
each  other,  leaving  three  young  children,  Nautchie, 
Jeanette,  and  Raphael.  They  were  taken  to  the  home 
of  Mr.  George  Hewlett,  who  lived  in  the  house  now 
owned  and  occupied  by  Miss  Kate  V.  Barnum  on  the 


South  road,  and  were  educated  and  cared  for  by  him  until 
both  Nautchie,  Jeanette,  and  Raphael  married  negroes 
and  disappeared  from  view.  With  them  the  Merrick 
Indians  became  extinct. 



The  Smith  families  were  early  in  evidence  on  Long 
Island.  Indeed,  they  were,  from  the  outset,  so  numerous 
that  something  more  than  the  simple  surname,  even  with 
the  Christian  prefix,  was  deemed  essential  to  properly 
identify  them.  Hence  it  came  about  that  the  first  settler 
in  Merrick,  John  Smith,  was  known  as  John  Rock  Smith 
and  John  Smith  Rock,  he  being  thus  designated  because 
of  his  ingenuity  in  building  his  house  in  Stamford  around 
a  rock  too  large  for  removal,  which  was  thus  made  to  do 
duty  as  part  of  the  wall,  and  also  as  a  back  to  the  fire- 
place. His  descendants  are  still  known  as  the  Rock 
Smiths,  and  at  the  present  day  include  nearly  all  Smiths 
living  in  Merrick.  There  was  also  a  Jonathan  Black 
Smith,  so  identified,  not  from  occupation,  but  from  a 
decidedly  unbleached  countenance.  Elsewhere  resided 
the  Block  Smiths,  whose  progenitor  placed  before  his 
house  a  horse-block  for  the  convenience  of  his  wife.  The 
Weight  Smiths  possessed  the  only  set  of  weights  and 
measures  in  their  neighborhood.  Incidentally  it  may  be 
stated  that  there  were  living  in  Patchogue  not  many  years 
ago  five  William  Smiths.  A  book  of  "Smith  Wills"  re- 
lates that  each  of  the  five  was  identified  by  a  nickname 



known  and  utilized  among  their  acquaintances.  "Point 
Bill"  resided  on  a  point  projecting  into  the  bay.  "Pea- 
cock Bill"  owned  a  bird  from  which  the  prefix  was  de- 
rived. "Wheelbarrow  Bill"  constructed  an  improved 
barrow  having  three  wheels.  "Submarine  Bill"  invented 
a  contrivance  for  examining  the  bottoms  of  vessels. 
"Eleven-Dollar  Bill,"  clerk  in  a  store,  took  from  a  cus- 
tomer for  a  fifty-cent  purchase  one  of  the  old-fashioned 
two-dollar  state  bank  bills,  giving  in  exchange  ten  dollars 
and  fifty  cents,  with  the  subsequent  statement  that  he 
supposed  the  two  Fs  upon  the  bill  meant  that  it  was  an 
"eleven-dollar  bill." 

The  Carman  family  early  sent  representatives  to  Mer- 
rick from  the  settlement  on  Hempstead  Plains.  To  John 
Carman  was  born,  January  9,  1645,  the  first  white  child  in 
the  settlement.  He  was  christened  Caleb.  The  Car- 
mans  and  Smiths  intermarried,  and  appear  to  have  held  in 
common  land  westward  from  the  eastern  line  of  what  is 
now  the  property  of  Mr.  H.  H.  Cammann,  on  Merrick 
avenue.  There  is  also  evidence  that  these  two  families 
pre-empted  the  entire  territory  "from  Merrick  river,  east 
to  Cove  Spring  Landing,  Merrick  Cove,  and  from  the 
bay  north  to  Hempstead  Plains." 

John  Rock  Smith  settled  west  of  the  present  lakes  on 
either  side  of  Merrick  road — his  house  on  the  north  and 
barn  on  the  south  side.  Jonathan  Smith  Black  laid  out 
his  farm  east  of  Merrick  path,  which  afterwards  became 
the  Hempstead  turnpike;  and  Jonathan  Smith  Rock  set- 


tied  to  the  west,  there  being  between  them  a  wedge  of 
land,  known  as  the  Hewlett  farm.  It  is  reported  that  this 
wedge  was  contributed  equally  by  the  two  Smiths  to 
induce  the  Hewletts  to  settle  thereon. 

Richard  Valentine  had  land,  undescribed,  in  Merrick 
as  early  as  1657.  He  was  a  town  marshal  and  man  of 
some  parts. 

One  of  the  first  houses  was  built  by  Jonathan  Rock 
Smith.  It  is  still  in  existence,  and  stands  back  from  the 
present  residence  of  Mrs.  Elijah  Smith.  The  house  of 
Mr.  William  E.  Hewlett  was  erected  at  about  the  same 

From  carefully  preserved  records  now  in  the  possession 
of  Mr.  George  T.  Hewlett  and  Mr.  George  M.  Hewlett 
it  appears  that  the  first  of  that  family  to  reach  America 
was  one  of  the  judges  who  passed  sentence  of  death  upon 
King  Charles  (1648).  The  name  in  the  King's  death 
warrant  is  differently  spelled,  and  it  is  supposed  to  have 
been  purposely  changed  afterwards  to  avoid  pursuit  and 
detection.  The  first  Hewlett  settlement  (about  1649) 
was  on  Riker's  Island,  near  Hell  Gate;  the  house  was 
destroyed  by  Indians,  although  the  family,  being  warned, 
escaped,  and  we  next  hear  of  them  in  Hempstead  whith- 
er they  probably  migrated.  There  were  then  three  broth- 
ers, George,  John,  and  Lewis,  and  one  sister.  George  and 
John  both  died  unmarried,  the  former  at  Hempstead,  the 
latter  at  Cow  Neck.  Of  the  others  there  is  no  record. 
The  first  George  Hewlett  to  come  to  Merrick  settled  "be- 


tween  Whale  Neck  and  New  Bridge  road,"  including 
what  is  now  known  as  Cedar  Swamp.  There  is  also 
record  of  an  early  Hewlett  settlement  upon  the  farm  of 
Mr.  George  M.  Hewlett,  which  has  always  remained  in 
the  family.  The  original  house  has  been  incorporated  in 
the  more  modern  residence  occupied  at  the  present  time. 
An  old  clothes  press  brought  from  England  is  still  in  its 
garret,  as  well  as  portraits  of  Colonel  Hewlett  and  his 
wife.  The  people  were  largely  tories  in  the  early  period 
of  our  struggle  for  independence.  Washington  wrote  to 
the  Committee  of  Safety  (1776):  "The  inhabitants  of 
L.  I.  have  discovered  an  apparent  inclination  to  lend  a 
helping  hand  to  subjugate  their  fellow  citizens,"  and 
Jonathan  Sturges  writes  to  Governor  Trumbull :  "Long 
Island  has  the  greatest  proportion  of  tories  of  any  part  of 
this  colony."  The  women,  too,  assumed  a  royal  attitude, 
and  went  even  greater  lengths  to  signify  their  devotion  to 
the  crown.  We  may  be  pardoned,  perhaps,  for  copying 
the  following  statement  from  an  old  record :  "A  young 
woman  in  our  town  [Hempstead]  formed  an  intimacy 
with  a  Highlander  in  the  British  army.  When  the 
British  were  about  to  evacuate  the  island  she  was  miss- 
ing. The  distressed  father  expressed  his  apprehensions 
to  the  commanding  officer  That  his  daughter  had  eloped, 
and  was  now  in  the  Company  of  her  lover.  Forthwith 
the  men  were  drawn  up,  and  the  father  walked  along  the 
ranks,  wherein  he  discovered  his  daughter,  in  Highland 
Uniform,  and  in  the  guise  of  a  soldier,  by  the  whiteness 


of  the  skin  where  the  garter  is  usually  tied."  The  Hew- 
letts  were  among  the  leaders  of  the  Royalist  party,  and 
at  times  were  in  imminent  danger,  but  finally  a  declara- 
tion of  submission  to  the  Continental  Congress  was 
drawn  up,  and  among  its  signers  were  John  Carman, 
John  Smith  Rock,  William  Smith  Black,  Benjamin  Hew- 
lett, Benjamin  Hewlett  2d,  Joseph  Hewlett,  George 
Hewlett,  and  John  Hewlett.  The  Hewlett  coat  of  arms 
represents  two  owls  upon  a  shield,  with  the  mottoes : 
"To  stake  one's  life  for  the  truth,"  and  "By  courage,  not 
by  craft."  The  name  was  sometimes  spelt  Hulit,  and  also 
"Owlett,"  the  latter  probably  derived  from  Yorkshire 
dialect  and  the  representative  owls.  In  the  last  genera- 
tion of  our  first  George  Hewlett's  descendants  there  were 
twelve  brothers  and  sisters.  Of  these  Mr.  George  T. 
Hewlett  and  Mrs.  Mary  Willetts  are  now  (1900)  the  sole 

As  an  illustration  of  the  deserved  prosperity  and  enter- 
prise which  have  ever  characterized  the  Hewletts  the  fol- 
lowing, copied  from  an  old  newspaper  dated  February 
28,  1800,  will  serve  as  an  example :  "The  curious  are 
invited  to  a  sight  of  one  of  the  most  astonishing  produc- 
tions in  nature,  a  large  ox,  raised  by  Mr.  George  Hewlett. 
He  is  to  be  seen  at  Mrs.  Delouf's,  Flymarket.  Admit- 
tance, one  shilling.  To  give  an  idea  of  this  ox,  it  need 
only  be  mentioned  that  he  is  nineteen  hands  high,  seven- 
teen and  a  half  feet  in  length,  and  nine  feet  in  girth,  form- 
ing a  tremendous  mass  of  animation.     Not  to  view  him 


as  he  now  stands  argues  that  want  of  curiosity  which 
tends  to  enlarge  the  mind."  And  again,  in  1831,  we 
read:  "George  Hewlett,  of  Merrick,  has  a  cornstalk  on 
which  grew  thirteen  perfect  ears." 

During  all  these  early  years  the  Indians  were  friendly, 
and  gradually  acquired  some  of  the  ways  of  the  pale-faces, 
among  which  was  a  not  too  moderate  liking  for  corn 
whisky  and  another  well-known  liquid,  sometimes  smug- 
gled in  from  the  Indies.  They  continued  to  occupy  the 
Neck,  reserving,  as  was  the  custom  in  alienating  lands, 
"the  rights  to  hunt,  fish,  and  gather  nuts."  This  condition 
is  found  in  most  of  the  Indian  deeds.  The  longevity  of 
early  residents  is  a  matter  of  frequent  comment,  and, 
indeed,  the  record,  so  far  as  subsequent  generations  are 
concerned,  is  still  a  remarkable  one.  Long  life  and  Long 
Island  are  intimately  associated  with  each  other.  It  was 
recorded  in  the  New  York  Gazette  (1732)  :  "Last  week 
the  wife  of  William  Humphreys,  of  Hempstead,  was 
brought  to  bed  of  a  daughter,  which  child's  grandfather 
hath  a  grandmother  yet  living,  being  of  that  age  that  she 
can  say :  'Grandson,  send  me  your  granddaughter  that 
I  may  have  the  pleasure  to  see  of  my  issue  one  of  the  fifth 
generation.'  " 

The  constabulary  was  the  militia,  and  that  there  was  a 
frequent  demand  for  their  services  a  single  incident  will 
illustrate:  "John  Jackson's  Store,  west  of  the  Mill-dam 
at  Merrick,  was  robbed  by  some  Whale  boats  under  Cap- 
tain Dickie.     The  Militia  went  in  pursuit.    The  western 


division  was  under  Joseph  Raynor,  and  the  eastern  under 
George  Hewlett.  Dickie  was  captured,  and  sent  to  New 
York.  Not  long  afterwards,  George  Hewlett,  with  two 
friends,  was  gunning  on  the  marsh,  when  a  whale  boat 
rowed  up,  took  his  gun,  silver  sleeve  buttons,  and  some 
money,  and  consulted  whether  they  should  take  their  hats 
and  coats." 



Although  title  to  the  township  was  made  sure  from  the 
time  of  settlement  in  1643,  lands  were  held  in  common 
until  1647,  when  the  first  division  took  place  among  the 
original  sixty-six  owners.  Other  divisions  rapidly  fol- 
lowed, and  "Akers  of  Medowe  given  out  to  the  Inhabit- 
ants of  Hempstead,"  says  Flint,  is  a  frequent  entry  in  the 
old  town  books.  Town  meetings  fixed  the  day  to  begin 
cutting  salt  grass,  before  which  no  one  had  the  right  to 
use  sickle  or  scythe,  for  the  marshes  were  held,  last  of  all, 
in  common.  In  171 2  the  commons  contained  about  6,000 
acres.  In  1723  officers  were  appointed  "to  divide  the 
individual  land  of  Hempstead,  and  to  lay  to  every  man 
according  to  his  just  right,  and  to  doe  the  work  according 
to  justice."  But  as  late  as  1792  we  find  a  farm  described 
as  "pleasant,  salubrious,  zvith  the  great  privilege  of  Com- 
monage in  the  plains  and  marshes,  enabling  the  proprietor 
to  keep  what  stock  he  pleases." 

Among  the  early  transfers  by  deed  is  that  of  Richard 
Elloson  and  wife  to  John  Smith  Rock,  son  of  John  Smith, 
of  land  "on  the  north  side  of  the  Neck,  called  Rockaway, 
adjacent  to  a  place  called  hungry  harbor."     This  was  in 

■     33 


1676,  and  seems  to  indicate  that  our  first  Smith  was  still 

A  deed  of  a  part  of  the  undivided  land  transferred  "by 
William  Vallentine  to  Joseph  Smith,  of  Hempstead, 
Queens  County,  on  Nassau  Island,  in  1770,"  is  in  the 
following  words : 

"In  consideration  of  the  Just  and  full  sum  of  five 
shillings  well  and  trewly  paid  by  Joseph  Smith,  son  of 
John  Smith,  wefer,  the  receipt  whereof  I  do  hereby  ac- 
knowledg  myself  to  be  therewith  fully  satisfyed,  con- 
tented, and  paid,  have  by  these  presents,  given,  granted, 
sold,  and  convayed  unto  him,  the  said  Joseph  Smith,  son 
of  John  Smith,  his  heirs  and  assigns  forever,  that  is  to 
say,  a  ninepence  patten  wright  is  to  be  taken  up  in  the 
Undevided  land  in  the  township  of  Hempstead,  which 
said  Pattent  Wright  Descended  from  William  Valentine." 

In  one  of  the  early  recorded  wills  Silvanus  Smith 
leaves  to  his  sons  "the  salt  and  fresh  Meadows  on  the 
South  Neck  called  Great  Merock  and  Little  Merock." 

The  will  of  Jonathan  Smith  Rock  appears  worthy  of 
further  record,  as  quoted  from  in  the  following  chapter. 


THE     WILL     OF     JONATHAN     SMITH, 

Be  it  known  unto  all  men  by  these  presents,  that  I, 
Jonathan  Smith,  of  the  Township  of  Hempstead  [Mer- 
rick], Queens  County,  on  Nassau  Island;  yeoman  on  this 
Thirtieth  day  of  May,  In  the  year  of  our  Lord,  one  thou- 
sand Seven  Hundred  and  forty-six,  being  very  week  and 
Infirm  of  Body,  but  through  Marcy  my  understanding 
at  this  time  pritty  well;  and  well  knowing  that  my  final 
change  Draweth  nigh,  and  that  this  mortal  Body  must 
give  up  this  transitory  Life;  therefore  I  am  willing  to 
settle  my  worldly  estate  in  peace  and  Tranquility  among 
my  famaly;  but  first  of  all  I  recommend  my  Soul  to  God 
that  gave  it  to  me,  in  hopes  through  ye  merits  of  Jesus 
Christte  to  Inherit  Salvation ;  and  my  Body  I  bequeath 
unto  the  earth,  to  be  buried  with  a  Christian  Like  Burial 
at  ye  De  Scretion  of  my  Executores  hereafter  named  and 
appoynted.  And  as  touching  such  worldly  estate  Where- 
with it  hath  pleased  almighty  God  to  Bless  and  Bestow 
upon  me,  I  will,  devise  and  dispose  of  in  ye  following 
manner:  First  of  all,  my  will  is  that  all  those  just  debts 
which  I  doe  owe  to  any  manner  of  persons  shall  be  fully 
Satisfied,  Contented  and  paid  in  Such  manner  as  is  here- 
after mentioned  and  expressed.     Item,  I  will,  order  and 


:;  J  MKRkICK,    LONG    ISLAND. 

bequeath  unto  my  eldest  son,  Jonathan  Smith,  ye  sum 
of  five  shilHngs  New  York  money,  and  also  my  Large 
Bible,  to  him  and  his  heirs  and  assigns  forever.  Item, 
1  will,  give  and  bequeath  unto  my  beloved  wife,  Eliza- 
beth Smith,  and  to  her  heirs  and  assigns  forever,  my 
Riding  mare  that  I  have,  as  also  all  and  Singular  my 
movable  or  personal  estate  of  what  Nature  or  condition 
Soever  (except  what  I  shall  dispose  of  hereafter)  that 
is  to  say,  ye  use  and  benefit  thereof  after  the  same  is  sold 
by  my  executors  at  public  Vendue.  Item,  I  will,  give  and 
Bequeath  to  my  sd  well  beloved  wife  ye  use  and  benefit 
of  my  East  Room  in  the  House  where  I  now  Live  with 
ye  Appurtenances,  and  the  one  third  part  of  ye  use  ot 
my  farme  of  Lands,  &c..  During  her  Widowhood.  Item, 
I  will,  give  and  bequeathe  unto  my  Daughter,  Phelina 
Smith,  her  heirs  and  Assigns,  one  fether  Bed  with  full 
furniture  thereunto  belonging,  as  also  thirty  pounds  of 
Lawfull  money  of  New  York,  to  be  paid  unto  her  In 
some  convenant  time  after  my  decease,  by  my  executors 
out  of  my  movable  estate.  Item,  I  will,  and  bequeath 
unto  my  three  Daughters  that  are  married,  viz.:  Eliza- 
beth, the  wife  of  Ezekiel  Matthews;  Jane  Haviland,  the 
wife  of  Benjamin  Haviland,  and  Hannah  Bedle,  to  each 
of  them  one  cow  and  calf,  and  to  each  of  their  heirs  and 
assigns  forever.  Item,  I  will,  give  and  bequeath  unto 
my  daughter  Philena  her  Riding  side  Sadie  and  her  duch 
Spinning  Wheal  to  her  own  disposall.  Item,  I  will  and 
beciueath  unto  my  son,  John  Smith,  and  to  his  heirs  and 

THE    WILL    OF    JONATHAN    SMITH.  37 

assigns  my  Stalion,  a  cow  calf  and  a  g;un  which  he  now 
has  in  keeping.  Item,  I  will,  and  bequeath  unto  my  son 
Henry  Smith,  his  heirs  and  assigns,  two  four  year  old 
Stears  and  a  Gun.  Item,  I  will,  and  Bequeath  unto  my 
son  Cornell,  his  heirs  and  assigns  my  new  Gun,  a  pair 
of  four  year  old  Stears  and  a  gray  mare  which  are  to  be 
sold  at  Public  Vendue  (with  ye  rest  of  ye  moveables) 
and  ye  money  arising  therefrom,  to  be  paid  unto  him 
when  he  shall  arrive  of  full  age.     ***** 

In  witness  hereunto  I  have  set  to  my  hand  and  Fixed 
my  seal  ye  day  and  year  above  said. 

Jonathan     A    Smith. 

mark  and  seal. 

The  house  containing  ye  east  room,  given  to  his  wife 
is  still  standing  in  rear  of  the  present  residence  of  Mrs. 
Elijah  Smith,  and  to  this  lady  the  writer  is  indebted  for 
a  copy  of  the  above  will  and  many  other  valuable  docu- 



The  old  Merrick  Path  beginning  near  the  present 
Hempstead  turnpike  and  passing  east  of  the  house  of 
Mr.  Benjamin  Seaman,  in  a  northely  direction  to  the 
plains,  probably  first  did  duty  as  a  road  in  this  part  of 
the  new  township.  It  is  said  that  one  with  sharp  eyes 
can  still  discern  its  outlines.  It  was  simply  "brushed  out," 
and  indicated  more  distinctly  by  "blazed  trees."  This 
path,  later  on  was  known  as  the  "Hempstead  Road"  and 
then,  as  the  turnpike. 

The  Merrick  Road,  or  as  sometimes  designated  the 
great  south  road,  came  next  in  order.  It  was  built  in 
sections,  not  continuously;  and  not  until  about  1850 
was  it  completed  between  Merrick  and  Freeport.  Before 
that  time  its  local  terminus  in  Merrick  was  west  of  Mer- 
rick river,  where  a  connection  was  made  with  the  south- 
erly Freeport  road,  southwest  to  the  old  mills  and  again 
in  a  northerly  direction  into  Freeport  village. 

At  about  this  time  (1850)  a  company  was  organized 
for  the  construction  of  the  South  Oyster  Bay  Turnpike 
including  the  Merrick  Road  from  Babylon  to  the  old 
Hempstead  Turnpike  in  Merrick,  and  thence  north  to 
Hempstead  Plains.     The  work  seems  to  have  been  ac- 



complished  with  but  little  delay  and  resulted  in  pretty 
general  satisfaction  to  all  but  stockholders.  The  original 
road  in  Merrick  ran  within  twenty  feet  of  the  front  door 
of  Mr.  John  J.  Hewlett's  house,  now  occupied  by  his  son 
Mr.  William  E.  Hewlett.  When  the  Commissioners 
reached  that  point,  in  laying  out  the  new  turnpike,  to 
obviate  an  unnatural  curve,  the  course  was  laid  further 
south,  as  the  road  now  runs.  To  this  the  senior  Hewlett 
strenuously  objected,  urging  as  a  sufficient  reason  there- 
for, that  it  would  "cut  him  off"  and  leave  his  house  too 
far  away  from  the  travelled  thoroughfare.  A  still  more 
potential  argument  on  his  part  was  a  refusal  to  take  ad- 
ditional stock  in  the  company  if  the  change  was  insist- 
ed upon.  This  might  have  brought  the  company  to 
terms,  had  there  not  been — unfortunately  for  Mr.  Hew- 
lett— another  householder  further  west  who  insisted  with 
equal  pertinacity,  that  the  southerly  course  should  be 
confirmed,  in  order  that  he  might  thus  secure  a  "larger 
door  yard,"  and  agreeing  in  consideration  therefor,  to 
take  and  pay  for  more  stock  than  would  otherwise  be 
purchased  by  Mr.  Hewlett.  Such  diplomacy  was  irresist- 
ible and  the  road  was  changed  accordingly. 

There  were  regular  lines  of  stages  on  the  new  turnpike 
from  Babylon  to  Hempstead — thence  to  Jamaica  and 
Brooklyn.  South  Oyster  Bay  had  a  postoffice,  and  one 
was  soon  after  established  for  Merrick  in  the  old  hotel 
and  store  combined  on  the  Hempstead  Turnpike  north 
of  the  present  railroad  crossing.     The  building  was  de- 


stroyed  by  fire  in  1896.  The  Merrick  postofifice  was  a 
general  point  for  distribution,  and  the  nearest  station  for 
people  residing  in  Freeport. 

To  the  west  of  Mr.  Cammann's  present  residence,  and 
extending  from  the  road  in  a  northerly  direction  was  a 
high  board  fence  erected  to  screen  from  view  objection- 
able farm  buildings  further  on.  In  course  of  time,  how- 
ever, the  southerly  boards  of  this  fence  were  cut  off  at  a 
reasonable  height  so  that  stages  might  the  more  easily 
bie  seen  from  the  house  as  they  passed  to  and  fro  upon 
the  Merrick  Road. 

The  Plank  Road  to  Jamaica  was  built  about  1854.  It 
commenced  at  the  junction  of  Hempstead  Turnpike  with 
the  Merrick  Road  and  extended  over  the  latter  in  a 
westerly  course,  bridging  Freeport  swamps,  and  furnish- 
ing a  direct  thoroughfare  between  that  village  and  Mer- 
rick. The  new  road  was  not  a  profitable  investment  and 
was  soon  acquired  by  the  town. 

Merrick  avenue,  extending  from  the  Bay  north  to  the 
railroad  and  thence  to  and  beyond  the  camp  grounds,  is 
perhaps  as  fine  a  road  with  its  surroundings  as  can  be 
found  on  Long  Island.  It  is,  the  greater  part,  beautifully 
shaded,  and  has  a  macadam  foundation.  Previous  to 
1850,  however,  it  was  but  a  cow  path,  more  particularly 
designated  as  "Whale  Neck  Road,"  from  the  stranding  of 
a  whale  at  Whale  Neck  Point;  which  whale  was  later  sub- 
divided and  transferred  in  carts  over  the  cow  path  to  set- 
tlements further  north.    A  pair  of  bars  then  closed  Mer- 



rick  avenue  to  the  public  at  its  junction  with  the  Merrick 
Road.  The  necessity  for  making  the  path  a  highway 
soon  became  apparent,  and  it  was  accordingly  set  apart 
for  that  purpose  and  reconstructed.  Freight  from  the 
Merrick  dock,  at  the  foot  of  this  avenue,  before  the  days 
of  a  railroad,  was  then  received  from  vessels  and  con- 
veyed in  wagons  to  all  parts  of  the  surrounding  country. 
Indeed,  at  this  period,  nearly  all  freight  to  and  from 
Hempstead  and  New  York  was  so  transferred.  The  good 
ship  "Native  of  America,"  commanded  by  Capt.  Thomas 
Raynor,  made  regular  trips  between  the  two  ports. 

Within  the  last  ten  years  the  older  roads  have  been 
supplemented  by: 

Kirkwood  avenue  from  the  Hempstead  Turnpike 
near  the  residence  of  Mr.  Benjamin  Seaman,  east  to 
Merrick  avenue,  and  south  of  the  Merrick  Library. 

Lindemere  avenue,  from  the  southerly  end,  and 
around  the  east  side,  of  the  south  lake  to  Merrick  road ; 
thence  northerly,  bordering  the  handsome  grounds  and 
residence  of  Mr.  P.  R.  Jennings,  to  a  junction  with  Kirk- 
wood avenue. 

Wynsum  avenue,  from  the  Merrick  Road,  west  of 
Miss  Barnum's,  north  to  the  railroad  station. 

Willomere  avenue,  from  Merrick  road  around  the 
westerly  side  of  the  south  lake,  to  its  southerly  end. 
Bordering  these  avenues  about  the  lake  are  some  of  the 
most  desirable  building  lots  still  attainable.  It  is  pre- 
dicted that  in  the  near  future  they  will  become  the  center 
of  handsome  residences. 


To  go  back  to  an  earlier  date,  we  find  what  might  now 
be  called  private  roads,  but  laid  out  by  Commissioners, 
and  entered  in  the  town  records.  The  following  is  a  copy 
of  one  of  these  entries: 

"Articles  of  agreement  made  by  the  owners  of  a  cer- 
tain tract  of  Meadow  Lands  Lying  in  the  Township  of 
Hempstead  on  Little  Merrick  is  as  follows:  Whereas,  we 
the  subscribers  whose  names  are  hereunto  Written,  Do 
agree  for  Ourselves,  our  heirs  and  assigns  forever  that  we 
will  take  a  Road  that  the  Commissioners  Shall  Lay  out. 
One  Rod  Wide  In  Leu  of  all  other  Rights  or  Priviledge 
that  we  Heretofore  have  had,  to  Pass  to  and  From  our 
Meadow,  For  the  Use  of  Carting  the  Hay  Cut  on  our 
Respective  Meadows,  Said  Road  to  Begin  at  Duryea's 
Bars,  Running  as  the  Path  Now  Runs  to  the  Bars  Near 
Jacob  Smith's  and  Timothy  Titus'  House,  and  from 
thence  To  the  Island  as  the  Cross  Way  Now  Is.  One 
Rod  Wide  Eastwardly  from  the  Ditch  on  the  West  Side 
of  Said  Crossway.  The  Priviledges  above  written  are  no 
Other  ithan  the  Priviledges  we  had  In  the  Old  Road 
which  we  have  given  for  the  New  One.  In  witness 
Whereof  We  set  our  Hands,  Nov.  9,  1809." 

Remarkably  good  roads  are  found  in  Merrick  and  in 
no  part  of  the  Island  are  there  more  delightful  drives  or 
greater  attractions. 

The  Merrick  Road,  extending  from  Brooklyn  to  the 
extreme  eastern  towns,  is  macadamized  a  good  part  of 
the  way,  with  hardly  an  elevation  above  the  general  level 


during  the  first  sixty  miles  of  its  course.  Merrick  ave- 
nue, with  its  prolongation,  Whale  Neck  Road,  is  paved  in 
like  manner  and  so  also  is  the  greater  part  of  the  old 
Hempstead  Turnpike.  Intersecting  roads  usually  with 
hard  and  substantial  beds  extend  in  all  directions.  One 
may  drive  or  ride  towards  any  point  of  the  compass,  a 
longer  or  shorter  distance,  and  return  to  the  starting 
point  without  going  a  second  time  over  the  same  ground. 



Agriculture  naturally  occupied  the  early  attention  of 
our  colonists  and  has  remained  a  principal  occupation. 
Records  show  enormous  crops  gathered  from  productive 
soil,  good  prices  in  return  for  the  same,  and  a  gradual  in- 
crease in  the  comforts  and  surroundings  of  the  farmer. 
Nevertheless,  we  find  him  complaining  of  exorbitant 
taxes,  illegal  assessments,  and  protesting  to  the  Colonial 
Governor  his  inability  to  pay  them.  It  is  on  record  that 
this  contention  came  to  naught,  but  once  resulted  in  an 
edict  from  Governor  Lovelace  to  "lay  such  taxes  upon 
them  in  future  as  may  not  give  them  liberty  to  entertain 
any  other  thoughts  but  how  they  shall  discharge  them." 
This  was  in  1668. 

The  Merrick  River  was  then  a  stream  of  some  import- 
ance and  for  years  a  source  of  great  value  within  the 
hamlet.  Upon  its  banks  were  no  less  than  four  paper 
mills.  The  first,  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  north  of  the 
present  railroad  track  was  owned  by  Gilson  WilHs;  Joseph 
Smart  had  another,  still  further  north;  the  next  belonged 
to  Isaac  Willis,  and  the  last  to  F.  S.  Molineaux,  but  is 
now  transformed  into  a  grist  mill.  They  all  did  a  thriving 
business   for  years  and  furnished  a  good    market  for  all 




straw,  farmers  could  bring  to  them.  Rags  came  from 
New  York  and  were  returned  in  the  form  of  white  paper, 
by  a  regular  line  of  packets,  having  a  dock  below  the  pres- 
ent residence  of  Mr.  Gilbert  Smith.  There  was  every  evi- 
dence oi  a  long  continued  prosperity  in  this  branch  of 
manufacture,  when  that  which  has  proved  so  destructive 
to  the  Eastern  End  of  Long  Island — the  "Brooklyn 
Water  Works  Company" — by  authority  from  the  legis- 
lature, reached  out  into  the  township,  like  the  octopus 
sucking  through  its  tentacles,  water  from  streams  and 
springs,  to  its  reservoirs  and  conduits,  until  the  streams 
ran  dry,  the  mills  were  closed,  and  so  the  industry  came 
to  an  end.  The  several  fulling  mills  which  had  long  done 
a  thriving  business  were  also  obliged  to  close  for  the 
same  reason. 

"Flotsam"  and  "Jetsam"  were  terms  well  known  and 
understood.  A  copy  of  one  recorded  document  bearing 
upon  goods  of  this  nature  appears  of  sufBcient  interest  to 
warrant  its  repetition: 

'Tn  March,  1814,  the  Privateer  Mars  ware  Drove  on 
Shore  near  the  New  Inlet,  by  the  British  Cruisers,  and 
set  on  fire  by  them.  We,  the  Subscribers,  saved  Sum 
property  from  her.  Jacob  S.  Jackson  and  Thomas 
Treadwell  made  an  agreement  with  the  ajent  and  part 
owner,  Peter  H.  Schenck  tcj  Save  the  property  from  her 
to  the  Halves  and  Deliver  said  property  when  saved  to 
New  York  to  said  Schenck  and  to  have  the  one  haff  of 
the  neate  proceeds  for  saving  the  same.    And  the  above 


said  property  or  part  of  it  Whare  Delivered  to  Mr. 
Schenck  at  New  York  by  James  Bedell,  which  said 
Schenck  refused  to  make  a  settlement  for.  Now  we  the 
subscribers  do  agree  that  the  sum  of  money  that  ware 
lodged  in  the  hands  of  Patrick  Mott  should  go  towards 
bringing  a  sute  against  Mr.  Schenck,  and  if  not  a  suffi- 
cient sum  to  carry  on  the  sute,  we  the  Subscribers  agree 
to  pay  all  charges  that  may  a  Crew  in  carrying  on  said 

"February  the  14th,  1816." 

As  a  means  for  promoting  industries,  building 
churches,  establishing  schools  and  divers  other  public 
works,  the  lottery  was  frequently  resorted  to  and  was 
pretty  generally  in  vogue.  In  1763  the  Reverend  Samuel 
Seabury  recorded  in  his  diary :  "The  ticket  No.  5866  in 
the  Light  House,  drew  in  my  favor,  by  the  blessing  of 
God,  £500,  for  which  I  now  record  to  my  posterity  my 
thanks,  and  praise  to  Almighty  God,  the  Giver  of  all 
good  gifts.    Amen." 



"There  is  abundant  evidence,"  says  Prime,  "that  the 
first  settlers  of  all  these  towns,  from  East  to  West,  con- 
sidered the  establishment  of  schools  as  second  in  import- 
ance to  nothing  but  the  institutions  of  the  gospel,  and 
many  of  them  were  as  careful  to  bring  their  school 
masters  as  their  ministers  with  them."  Flint  records 
that  schools  must  have  been  opened  immediately  after 
the  colonists  settled  in  Hempstead.  As  early  as  1671, 
we  find  an  order,  signed  by  Governor  Lovelace,  to  the 
overseers  of  Hempstead  commanding  them  to  "cause 
speedy  payment  to  be  made  to  Richard  Charlton,  who 
kept  a  school;  otherwise  he  will  have  good  remedy 
against  you  at  Law."  In  172 1  there  was  a  school  on  Cow 
Neck,  taught  by  George  Sheresby. 

The  first  school  house  in  Merrick  was  built  early  in 
the  last  century.  It  was  of  rough  boards  and  timbers 
hewn  from  logs — from  its  size  evidently  not  intended  for 
a  large  number  of  pupils.  The  remnants  of  this  building 
may  still  be  seen  in  rear  of  Mr.  WilHam  E.  Hewlett's  res- 
idence, where  until  fallen  into  decay  they  did  duty  for 
many  years  as  a  chicken  house.  The  old  boards  and  logs 
bear  indications  that  the  boys  then,  as  well  as  now,  had 



jack  knives  and  knew  how  to  use  them;  they  record,  cut 
deep  in  the  wood,  initials  of  many  a  girl  and  boy,  long 
since  passed  away  and  of  whom  there  is  probably  no 
other  memorial  extant. 

The  second  school  house,  on  the  Merrick  Road,  east 
of  Mr.  Hewlett's,  was  erected  in  1844,  and  used  until 
the  modern  building  further  east  was  completed  in  1892. 
In  this  second  edifice  many  of  the  present  residents  of 
Merrick  received  their  education;  and  for  years  this 
school  produced  the  best  scholars  and  gave  the  most 
thorough  instruction  of  any  on  Long  Island.  The  early 
teacher  lived  on  the  premises,  sleeping  over  the  school 
room,  and  cooking  his  frugal  meals  upon  the  rough 
apology  for  a  box  stove.  It  is  said  of  one,  that  his  chief 
nutriment  was  derived  from  buckwheat  cakes  in  their 
season,  and  other  kinds  of  cakes  during  the  rest  of  the 
year.  An  "old  boy"  remembers  that  this  teacher  was 
famous  for  his  skill  in  cooking;  "and  when  the  process 
was  about  to  commence  the  scholars  gathered  around  to 
watch  him  flop  the  cakes  on  top  of  the  hot  iron." 

The  present  school  building  is  modern  throughout;  the 
school  itself  is  under  the  supervision  of  a  competent 
board  of  education  and  the  instruction  of  youth  is  care- 
fully provided  for. 



"In  Merrick,"  writes  Thompson,  "the  Methodists  have 
a  meeting  house  erected  in  1830,  and  another  east  in 
1840."  This  first  meeting  house  referred  to  has  been 
identified  as  one  which  stood  near  Hempstead  Turnpike 
in  Freeport  about  one  mile  north  of  the  Merrick  Road; 
it  was  formerly  known  as  the  Sand  Hill  Church.  The 
grave  yard  with  its  head  stones  is  yet  to  be  seen  in  the 
still  kept  inclosure  where  the  building  formerly  stood. 
The  edifice  east,  to  which  Thompson  refers,  was  prob- 
ably the  Merrick  school  house,  where  services  were  oc- 
casionally held  and  a  regular  Sunday  school  maintained. 

The  early  settlers  were  largely  of  the  Congregational 
and  Presbyterian  denominations.  Partaking  of  Puritan 
teaching  they  had  "a  very  strict  regard  for  the  Sabbath" 
and  observed  its  hours  with  what  they  called  "rigid  sanc- 
tity." The  town  of  Hempstead,  in  which  of  course  Mer- 
rick was  represented,  voted  in  1650:  "If  any  person 
neglect  to  attend  public  worship  without  a  reasonable 
excuse  he  shall  pay  five  guilders  for  the  first  ofifence,  10 
for  the  second  and  20  for  the  third,  and  for  after  ofifence, 
liable  to  increased  fine  or  corporal  punishment  or  banish- 



Incidentally  may  be  noticed  a  custom  in  Church  of 
England  parishes  of  burying  the  dead  beneath  the  church 
edifice  and  round  about  its  walls, — the  clergy  under  the 
chancel,  pewholders  beneath  the  pews  they  occupied  in 
life  and  the  poor  outside.  A  Long  Island  epitaph  of  the 
period  reads  as  follows: 

"Here  I  lie,  outside  the  Church  door, 
Here  I  lie,  because  I  am  poor; 
The  further  in,  the  more  they  pay, 
But  here  I  lie,  as  snug  as  they." 

The  first  building  erected  within  Merrick  precincts  for 
religious  services,  was  undoubtedly  the  Union  Chapel, 
commenced  in  the  fall  of  1875,  completed  in  the  summer 
of  1876,  and  dedicated  Sunday,  August  27th  of  that  year, 
by  Methodist  Elder  Graves.  Mr.  Raynor  P.  Seaman, 
who  has  done  so  much  good  work  on  Long  Island,  was 
the  builder  and  he  wrought  well,  as  he  always  does,  in  the 
task  then  entrusted  to  his  supervision.  The  chapel,  as 
its  name  indicated,  was  for  all  Protestant  denominations, 
but  for  no  one  of  them  in  particular.  It  stood,  where  it 
now  stands  in  an  altered  shape,  on  the  west  side  of  Mer- 
rick avenue,  midway  between  the  depot  and  the  Merrick 
road.  Mr.  Charles  Fox,  president  of  the  old  south  side 
railroad,  and  Mr.  William  E.  Hewlett  were  largely  inter- 
ested in  its  erection  and  contributed  liberally  thereto.  Mr. 
Joseph  Carman  gave  the  land.  Services  were  held  for 
several  years  with  considerable  regularity,  but  there  was 


never  a  settled  minister,  his  place  being  supplied  by 
students  from  the  Seminaries,  engaged  for  each  Sunday 
at  the  rate  of  seven  dollars  and  fifty  cents  and  expenses. 
Large  congregations  resulted  for  a  time,  but  gradually 
interest  in  the  services  declined.  It  became  difficult  to 
make  the  necessary  payments  and  reimburse  the  young 
theologians.  Efforts  were  made  to  transfer  the  property 
to  other  denominations  in  the  nearby  villages,  but  with- 
out success,  and  it  was  finally  sold  at  foreclosure. 

Steps  were  then  taken  for  the  formation  of  a  church 
mission  under  Episcopal  jurisdiction  and  for  repurchas- 
ing the  Union  Chapel  property,  which  was  speedily  ac- 

A  list  of  those  who  contributed  to  this  purpose  and  the 
amounts  given  were  as  follows: 

George  T.  Hewlett  $25.00  Arthur  Welwood.  .  $20.00 
Cornelia  Van  Wyck     15.00      Mrs.  Hugh  V.  Rod- 

Wm.  G.  Low 100.00  dy    5.00 

John  A.  King 100.00      George  Hewlett   ..       10.00 

Augustus  J.    Hew-                   George    M.    Hew- 
lett       80.00  lett    10.00 

Whitehead  H.  Hew-  J.  T.  Hewlett 15.00 

lett    250.00      B.  H.  Seaman 1500 

Charity  T.  Seaman.     50.00     Trinity       Church, 

Mary  Willets 25.00  Rockaway    69.48 

Eliza  Searing 25.00      Trinity  Ch.    S.    S., 

Charles  Hewlett.  .  .      15.00  Rockaway    70.00 

John  L  Lott 25.00      F.  B.  Baldwin  ....      10.00 


George  W.  Bergen  $25.00  Charlotte  L.   Hew- 

Joseph  S.  Wright..  10.00          lett    $150.00 

Rhoda  Wright 5.00  Charlotte   L.   Hew- 

Birasall  Post 5.00          lett 50.00 

Rev.  John  C.  Hew-  Mrs.     William     H. 

lett    25.00          Hewlett    50.00 

Peter  T.  Hewlett.  .  10.00  Frankie    M.     Hew- 

Robert  A.  Davison.  10.00          lett    38.20 

Carman   Cornelius.  25.00  Mrs.     William     E. 

Alfred  S.  Smith .  . .  20.00          Hewlett    5.00 

Joseph  H.  Willetts.  10.00  Mrs.  J.  I.  Lott  ...          50 

Carman  &  Foreman  25.00  Frank  M.  Munn.  .      17.00 

Francis  Miller  ....  5.00  Mrs.  Charles    Mor- 

Charles  V.  Combs.  25.00         gan    50.00 

E.  B.  Sexton 20.00  Thomas  H.  Clowes       5.00 

In  addition  to  the  above  there  were  the  following  gifts: 

Mrs.  Whitehead  H.  Hewlett,  organ. 

Mrs.  D.  R.  Wright  of  New  Haven,  Communion 

Charlotte  L.  Hewlett,  Bible,  Prayer  Book,  Book  of 
Altar  Service,  Hymnals,  Book  Marks  and  half  a  dozen 
Prayer  Books  for  pews. 

Julia  H.  Hewlett,  Lectern  hangings,  one  dozen  Prayer 
Books,  one  half  dozen  Hymnals. 

Trinity  Church,  Rockaway,  Altar. 

Prayer  Book  Society  by  Mrs.  George  H.  Sexton,  fifty 
Prayer  Books,  fifty  Hymnals. 


Frankie  M.  Hewlett,  three  Hymnals,  with  notes. 

To  furnish  a  bell,  $176.58. 

The  total  cost  of  church  and  furniture  was: 

Church  building  and  lot $1,000.00 

Pews    390.00 

Carpet   22 1 .56 

Chancel  furniture  70.00 

Repairing,  etc 37-31 


The  Reverend  L.  S.  Russell  was  in  charge  of  the  Mis- 
sion from  December,  1882,  until  October,  1885.  He  was 
succeeded  in  turn  by  the  Reverend  J.  A.  Locke,  the  Rev- 
erend W.  A.  Brewer,  the  Reverend  C.  A.  Jessup,  the 
Rev.  W.  W.  Love,  and  the  Reverend  C.  F.  Olmstead.  Of 
all  these,  Mr.  Brewer  was  longest  in  charge  and  left  with 
his  people  the  kindest  recollections. 

The  church  edifice  was  consecrated  by  the  Right  Rev- 
erend Bishop  Littlejohn,  July  26,  1887,  and  its  title  vested 
in  the  Trustees  of  the  Diocese. 

In  1887  a  fund  was  started  for  building  a  rectory;  a  fair 
was  held  for  the  benefit  of  this  fund  and  $200  realized 
therefrom.  Plans  were  obtained,  the  work  was  com- 
menced, and  the  rectory  speedily  finished.  It  is  one  of 
the  few  good  houses  of  its  character  in  the  diocese. 

April  nth,  1890,  the  church  and  parish  were  incorpo- 
rated under  the  name  of  "The  Church  of  the  Redeemer." 


The  first  officers  were:  Rector,  Rev.  Wm.  M.  Dow- 
ney; Wardens,  Bezaleel  Sexton,  Herman  H.  Cammann; 
Vestrymen,  Benjamin  Seaman,  George  Hewlett,  William 
Hewlett,  Theodoret  Bartow,  Theodore  Arms,  Frank 
Miller,  P.  Gildersleeve,  Hugh  V.  Roddy. 

The  death  of  Mr.  Sexton,  senior  warden,  in  1891,  was 
a  great  loss  to  the  parish.  The  people  among  whom  he 
lived  have  caused  to  be  placed  in  the  chancel  of  the 
church  a  memorial  window  to  commemorate  his  good 
deeds  and  hold  in  loving  memory  the  name  of  their  first 
senior  warden. 

Ground  was  given  (1891)  by  Mr.  Cammann  upon 
which  to  erect  a  parish  house.  Authority  to  build  was 
obtained  from  the  vestry  and  in  April  of  the  following 
year,  the  new  building  was  opened  and  has  since  been 
in  constant  use. 

Changes  in  the  church  edifice  of  a  pronounced  char- 
acter have  several  times  been  made,  and  repeated  as  cir- 
cumstances required,  until  now,  this  corporation,  with 
church,  rectory  and  parish  house  has  as  complete  a 
property  as  exists  elsewhere  on  Long  Island. 

The  Rev.  Mr.  Downey  resigned  in  the  spring  of  1892. 
He  was  succeeded  by  the  Rev.  W.  A.  Crawford  Frost,  who 
came  in  the  fall  and  remained  until  May,  1896,  when  he  in 
turn  was  succeeded  by  the  present  incumbent,  the  Rev.  J. 
W.  Barker,  D.D. 

The  present  vestry  is  composed  as  follows:  Wardens, 
H.  H.  Cammann,  P.  R.  Jennings;  Vestrymen,  Benjamin 


H.  Seaman,  William  E.  Hewlett,  Frank  S.  Miller,  Arthur 
Welwood,  Charles  N.  Kent,  Charles  A.  VVelwood,  Rich- 
ard P.  Kent,  E.  C.  Cammann. 

It  may  be  of  interest  to  the  reader  to  know  that  the 
first  Episcopal  Church  building  on  the  Island  was  erect- 
ed in  1734  at  Setauket,  and  called  first,  Christ  Church, 
afterwards  Caroline  Church,  because  of  gifts  received 
from  Queen  Caroline.  It  still  stands  upon  the  original 
site  in  a  goodly  state  of  preservation  and  has  for  its  rec- 
tor a  man  of  much  antiquarian  research,  the  Rev.  Dan 
Marvin.  In  olden  times  the  preacher  could  look  from  his 
pulpit  through  a  window,  upon  the  nearby  rectory  and 
its  adjacent  garden.  "One  hot  July  afternoon,"  says  an 
old  Chronicle,  "the  church  was  full  of  British  officers. 
Mr.  Lyons  was  preaching,  but  in  the  midst  of  his  sermon 
he  chanced  to  look  out  of  this  window,  and  saw  a  sight 
which  caused  him  to  interpolate  the  following  unpremed- 
itated remarks,  addressed  to  the  officers:  'Here  am  I 
preaching  the  blessed  Gospel  to  you,  and  there  are  your 
redcoats,  in  my  garden,  stealing  my  potatoes.'  " 



The  Brooklyn  and  Jamaica  Railroad  was  incorporated 
April  15th,  1832,  and  the  first  cars  on  Long  Island  ran 
over  this  road  April  i8th,  1836.  It  was  extended  by  the 
Long  Island  Railroad  Company,  to  Hicksville,  in  1837, 
and  on  the  25th  of  July,  1844,  a  through  train  ran  from 
Brooklyn  to  Greenport  for  the  first  time. 

The  South  Side  Railroad  was  built  in  1866.  Mr. 
Charles  Fox,  then  a  resident  of  Merrick,  became  its  pres- 
ident. The  first  train  from  Jamaica  through  Merrick  to 
Babylon  went  over  this  road  October  17th,  1867.  Great 
things  were  anticipated  in  a  local  way  because  of  the 
place  being  then  a  railroad  town;  but  no  depot,  and  not 
so  much  as  a  waiting  room  of  any  kind  whatsoever  could 
be  secured — the  people  were  told  the  road  could  not  af- 
ford it.  A  freight  car  was  asked,  as  a  means  for  tempor- 
ary refuge,  but  not  even  that  was  granted — there  was  no 
spare  car  to  be  had.  Finally  under  the  leadership  of  Mr. 
William  E.  Hewlett,  people  got  together  on  Christmas 
day  (1867)  and,  before  night,  built,  at  their  own  expense, 
the  first  depot.  It  was  not  a  grand  afifair,  being  only 
twelve  feet  by  six  and  open  at  the  front,  with  a  shed  roof, 
but  it  appeared  to  give  satisfaction  and  was  used  for  some 



time.     An  oil  painting  of  this  building  is  owned  by  Mr. 

Now,  in  1900,  there  are  thirteen  daily  trains  between 
Merrick,  New  York  and  Brooklyn,  and  the  time  required 
to  City  Hall,  Manhattan,  is  one  hour  and  fifteen  minutes. 
This  will  doubtless  be  decreased  still  further,  as  time  goes 



Until  within  a  comparatively  few  years  the  exhaustless 
supply  of  pure  water  on  Long  Island  was  proverbial.  We 
have  already  seen  of  what  use  and  value  it  became  in  the 
Merrick  River,  and  this  was  but  a  single  instance  among 
many  that  might  be  cited  of  the  thrift  and  prosperity  ex- 
isting along  the  banks  of  numerous  other  water  courses. 
■Says  Prime:  "In  traveling  on  the  South  Side  of  the 
Island  from  Gravesend  to  Canoe  Place,  you  necessarily 
cross  one  of  these  streams  almost  every  mile  'till  you 
have  counted  some  sixty  or  seventy  on  your  journey."  It 
was  only  necessary  to  drive  a  pipe  from  three  to  six  feet 
into  the  ground  and  attach  thereto  a  pump,  in  order  to 
secure  a  bountiful  supply  of  the  best  and  purest  water 
anywhere  obtainable.  Windmills  were  called  into  requi- 
sition and  the  landscape  was  dotted  with  them  in  every 
direction.  But,  most  unfortunately  for  the  interests  of  the 
people,  the  Brooklyn  Water  Company  was  permitted  to 
enter  this  garden  spot  of  the  State  and  withdraw,  through 
its  reservoirs  and  pumping  stations,  not  only  the  surplus, 
but  even  the  ordinary  supply  derived  from  surface  and 
subterranean  streams  and  springs.  A  more  disastrous 
and  far  reaching  catastrophy  to  the  rights  of  citizens  and 



productiveness  of  soil  was  never  recorded.  Streams 
dried  up;  water  wheels  became  idle,  for  there  was  no 
longer  power  to  turn  them;  mills  fell  into  decay  and  vege- 
tation sufifered.  This  condition  still  exists  in  a  lesser  de- 
gree at  the  present  day,  but  it  is  only  a  question  of  time 
when  eviction  of  the  Brooklyn  company  will  follow;  and 
even  now,  from  the  numerous  suits  and  injunctions 
entered,  it  is  more  amenable  to  the  rights  of  the  people, 
and  guards  against  the  useless  waste  which  at  one  time 
characterized  its  action. 

The  Merrick  Water  Company  was  incorporated  June 
8th,  1895.  The  object  stated  was  to  furnish  pure  water 
in  abundant  quantities,  distributed  through  pipes  under 
ground  to  citizens  desirous  of  obtaining  it  and  making 
application  therefor.  A  site  was  selected,  just  north  of 
Kirkwood  and  west  of  the  Church  property  on  Merrick 
Avenue.  Numerous  pipe  wells  were  driven  a  distance  of 
38  feet;  a  windmill  of  large  capacity  was  erected,  85  feet 
from  the  ground,  and  a  tank,  holding  16,000  gallons 
placed  upon  its  tower,  40  feet  high.  Pipes  were  laid  in 
the  various  avenues,  and  the  supply  of  pure  water  thus 
furnished  has  been  sufScient  and  never  failing.  The  en- 
tire village  can  thus  be  furnished,  and  arrangements  have 
been  made,  so  that  whenever  necessary  the  present  mo- 
tive power  of  the  company  can  be  supplemented  by 
steam  or  other  agent. 

But  hardly   had  the  Merrick   company    completed  its 
plant,  ere  the  Brooklyn  concern  began  to  lay  pipes,  sink 


wells  and  erect  a  pumping  station  within  limits  from 
which  the  Merrick  company  by  previous  right  and  oc- 
cupancy derived  its  own  supply — the  one  corporation,  be- 
cause of  its  power  and  magnitude,  apparently  going 
behind  both  Statute  and  Common  law,  usurping  rights 
held  existant  by  the  Courts,  and  paying  little  or  no  atten- 
tion to  those  of  the  smaller  and  local  company.  But,  as 
already  predicted,  it  is  believed  these  encroachments  are 
short  lived  and  will  be  followed  by  a  not  far  distant  ex- 
termination of  the  very  objectionable  neighbor — so 
unneighborly  in  its  present  contentions. 



We  find  record  of  Parish  and  Sunday  School  Libraries 
with  limited  resources,  for  a  score  or  more  of  years;  and 
still  earlier  there  may  have  been  a  small  collection  of 
books  in  the  public  school.  But  no  attempt  worthy  of  no- 
tice in  this  direction  was  made  until  the  spring  of  1891, 
when  the  proprietors  of  the  Messenger,  a  monthly  parish 
newspaper,  founded  "The  Merrick  Free  Circulating  Li- 
brary." It  first  saw  light  in  the  hay  loft  of  a  vacant  stable 
and  boasted  fully  fifty  volumes  upon  improvised  shelves. 
During  the  first  summer,  its  patrons  numbered  from 
twelve  to  fifteen  weekly.  In  the  fall  of  that  year  the  li- 
brary was  removed  to  a  building  altered  for  the  purpose 
on  Merrick  Avenue,  and  the  change  resulted  in  an  in- 
crease of  volumes  and  readers.  Again,  in  1892,  another 
removal  became  necessary  and  in  this  last  resting  place 
it  remained  until  the  fall  of  1895,  when  new  quarters  were 
established  in  the  Tank  Tower  of  the  Merrick  Water 

April  2 1  St,  1897,  the  present  Merrick  Library  was  in- 
corporated. In  anticipation  of  this  a  building  had  already 
been  commenced,  made  possible  by  generous  donations, 
and  the  work  was  speedily  pushed  to  completion. 



The  new  building  is  on  the  northeast  corner  of  Kirk- 
wood  and  Merrick  Avenues,  occupying  a  delightful  site, 
beneath  the  shade  of  beautiful  trees,  and  with  a  well  kept 
lawn  in  front.  It  is  perfect  in  construction  and  appoint- 
ments and  justly  merits,  as  it  has  received,  the  approval 
and  patronage  of  a  community  residing  even  far  beyond 
the  limits  of  Merrick.  Upon  its  shelves  there  are  now 
over  twelve  hundred  volumes,  and  the  number  is  con- 
stantly increasing.  Taken  as  a  whole,  the  collection  is 
superior  to  that  of  the  average  village  library,  and  the 
true  book  lover  will  here  find  an  occasional  work  not 
elsewhere  easily  discovered,  which  would  merit  special 
attention  in  the  valuable  collections  of  Manhattan  and 

Books  are  loaned  to  any  person,  applying  for  them, 
who  is  known  to  the  librarian  or  introduced  by  a  mem- 
ber, and  the  library  is  open  at  convenient  hours  for  the 
delivery  of  books  and  use  as  a  reading  room.  It  is  fur- 
nished with  small  tables,  stationery  and  other  conveni- 
ences for  patrons. 

There  is  always  to  be  had  a  complete  file  of  the  leading 
magazines,  illustrated  weekly  newspapers,  reviews  and 
religious  periodicals.  Maps — modern  and  ancient — adorn 
the  walls,  while  for  those  desiring  to  consult  books  of 
reference,  which  may  not  be  taken  from  the  building, 
every  facility  is  afforded. 

Any  person  who  pays  $2  annually  becomes  therebv  a 
member  of  the  association  when  elected  by  the  Board  of 


Trustees.  The  payment  of  $25  at  one  time  constitutes 
life  membership. 

In  connection  with  the  Library  is  a  museum  of  Long 
Island  reUcs  and  curiosities  which  promises  to  be  of  very 
considerable  interest  and  value. 

The  oi^cers  at  present  are:  President,  Edward  C. 
Cammann;  Vice  President  and  Treasurer,  Richard  P. 
Kent;  Secretary,  E.  B.  Willetts,  Jr. ;  Librarian,  Miss  Lina 
Miller;  Trustees,  H.  H.  Cammann,  Chas.  N.  Kent,  P.  R. 
Jennings,  E.  C.  Cammann,  Richard  P.  Kent,  Wm.  E. 
Hewlett,  J.  W.  Birch,  E.  B.  Willetts,  Jr.,  Charles  N. 
Kent,  Jr. 



The  Long  Island  Camp  Meeting  Association,  after  ex- 
perimenting in  various  places,  during  the  previous  five 
years,  reorganizing  in  1869,  in  Merrick,  selecting  the 
grounds  they  have  since  occupied,  for  their  first  meeting, 
and  "agreeing  to  purchase  for  permanent  use  if  found 
suitable."  The  first  convocation  approved  the  purchase 
■which  was  accordingly  made  at  the  close  of  the  first  as- 
sembly. The  grounds  are  situated  less  than  a  mile  north 
from  the  depot,  east  of  Merrick  avenue,  or,  as  it  is  there 
called.  Whale  Neck  Road.  They  embrace  nearly  sixty 
acres  and  the  first  cost  including  avenues,  grading,  water 
supply  and  necessary  buildings  was  $26,000. 

At  present  (1900)  there  are  nearly  sixty  houses  within 
the  enclosure,  most  of  which  are  occupied  during  the 
summer  months,  when  the  average  population  is  about 
three  hundred.  During  regular  camp  meeting  sessions 
this  number  is  largely  increased.  "We  have  known,"  said 
the  Superintendent,  "as  many  as  ten  thousand  here  at 
one  time;  but,  then,"  he  added,  "that  was  before  the  days 
of  Coney  Island  and  Long  Beach!"  Cottages  one  story 
high  rent  during  the  season  for  $30  and  those  two  stories 
high  bring  from  $50  upwards. 



The  association  was  early  incorporated,  and  granted  a 
special  act  by  the  Legislature  under  which  it  is  authorized 
CO  purchase  and  hold  real  estate  to  the  extent  in  value  of 
two  hundred  thousand  dollars,  and  to  possess  an  income 
of  not  exceeding  thirty  thousand  dollars.  One  hundred 
acres  of  land,  with  the  property  thereon,  is  made  exempt 
from  taxation.  The  trustees  are  authorized  to  issue  scrip, 
payable,  as  the  interests  of  the  association  will  permit,  to 
the  amount  of  seventy  thousand  dollars.  All  surplus 
monies  are  to  be  applied  to  the  loan  fund  of  the  M.  E. 
Church  Extension  Society. 

The  present  Secretary  and  Superintendent  is  Mr.  J.  E. 
Lucky,  of  Brooklyn. 



In  some  particulars — those  of  the  most  important — the 
Merrick  of  to-day  is  not  unhke  the  Merrick  of  1643. 
Natural  causes  have  but  served  to  augment  its  attrac- 
tions and  the  especial  purity  of  its  atmosphere  remains 
uncontaminated  and  unchanged.  There  is  something  re- 
markable in  this  last  feature,  which  from  a  scientific 
standpoint  has  never  been  satisfactorily  accounted  for. 
Within  Merrick's  boundaries,  and  for  a  short  distance 
east  and  west,  breezes  from  off  old  Ocean  in  crossing  the 
Great  Bay  undergo  a  radical  change  whereby  the  harsh 
and  salty  elements  in  the  air  disappear,  leaving  it  remark- 
ably soothing  and  invigorating  to  a  degree  found  only  in 
this  particular  locality. 

It  is  certain  that  the  land  from  the  Bay  northward  has 
been  "making  in"  during  a  long  period  of  years — possibly 
since  or  even  before  the  settlement  of  our  first  Rock 
Smith  and  his  associates.  Opposite  Merrick  docks,  exca- 
vations, at  a  depth  of  nearly  four  feet,  discover  remains  of 
a  curduroy  road,  used,  as  is  remembered  by  old  set- 
tlers, for  the  wagons  and  ox  carts  in  which  all  freight  ar- 
riving by  boat  from  New  York  was  transported  to  Hemp- 
stead and  other  villages  by  way  of  Whale  Neck  Road. 



During  the  summer  of  1899  a  large  bathing  pool  with 
bath  houses  adjoining  was  constructed,  west  of  Merrick 
Canal,  south  of  the  boat  house.  In  the  course  of  excava- 
tion, beach  sand  was  reached  at  an  even  depth  of  nearly 
four  feet,  and,  upon  the  sand,  Indian  "pot  sticks,"  four  in 
number — sound  and  strong  as  if  but  recently  cut  from 
trees — were  upturned;  nearby  as  if  to  shade  those  who 
watched  the  kettle  boil,  suspended  from  the  pot  sticks, 
stood  the  stump  of  what  had  been  once  a  large  maple 
tree — larger  indeed  than  is  now  often  met  with.  The 
stump,  at  its  top  was  at  least  two  feet  belovi'  the  present 
land  surface. 

But  while  the  land  has  thus  been  making  in,  the  south- 
erly beaches,  under  prevailing  winds  and  tides,  undergo 
constant  changes  in  both  directions.  Said  one,  familiar 
from  observation:  "The  sand  on  this  beach  is  a  chang- 
ing all  the  time.  Hollers  now'll  be  hills  by'me  by.  The 
wind'll  scoop  out  a  hold  and  pile  up  a  hill  in  no  time.  It 
handles  sand  about  the  same  way  it  drifts  snow." 

It  is  claimed  by  some  well  informed  people,  that  at  a 
period  it  is  not  now  possible  to  designate  there  was  no 
great  South  Bay — waves  direct  from  the  Atlantic,  with 
no  intervening  sand  bar  rolled  in  upon  Merrick  marshes 
and  Merrick's  southern  shore  was  then  the  true  ocean 
beach.  The  sand  formation  now  dividing  bay  from  ocean, 
we  are  told,  is  of  more  recent  origin — an  aggregation  of 
shifting  sands,  accumulated  by  constant  motion  of  wind 
and  tide. 


There  may  also  be  noted,  in  passing,  the  existence  of  a 
strong  belief,  frequently  found  in  old  documents,  that  the 
whole  of  Long  Island  was  at  one  time  a  part  of  the  main 
land — connected  therewith  from  east  to  west, — a  sepa- 
ration having  been  wrought  by  volcanic  upheavals. 



The  writer's  personal  attachment  to  Merrick;  his 
strong  appreciation  of  its  many  advantages  for  suburban 
homes,  and  the  friendships  which  have  there  been  formed 
and  augmented,  resulted  in  a  desire  to  know  more  of  its 
history — and  hence,  during  otherwise  leisure  hours  these 
pages  have  been  written. 

The  future  of  Merrick  may  be  predicted  with  a  moder- 
ate degree  of  accuracy.  Its  comparatively  slow  growth 
in  the  past  is  due  to  natural  causes  which  will  ultimately 
show  advantageous  results.  Speculation  in  lands,  the 
bane  of  so  many  suburban  towns,  has  here  never  been  at- 
tempted. ''Corner  lots  at  a  bargain,"  "Country  homes  at 
a  great  sacrifice,"  and  other  like  announcements  never 
appear  in  connection  with  our  real  estate.  With  its  broad 
avenues  and  cultivated  acres,  its  attractive  residences  and 
beautiful  lawns,  the  remaining  land  is  largely  held  by 
those  who  can  so  afiford  to  keep  it,  until  such  time  as  a 
transfer  is  effected — not  in  lots  measured  in  square  feet, 
but  in  acres — to  would-be  residents  of  some  means  and 
reputation,  who  will  join  with  those  already  here  happily 
domiciled,  in  making  Merrick  an  aggregation  of  homes 
of  the  better  class,  free  from  the  petty  annoyances  of  an 
ordinary  country  village. 




Copy  of  the  original  commission  issued  to  Jonathan 
Smith  (Rock)  Merrick: 

Benjamin  Fletcher,  Capt  Gen'll  and  Governor  in  Chiefe 
of  his  Maj'ties  Province  of  New  Yorke,  and  all  the  Territ- 
tories  and  Tracts  of  Land  depending  thereon  in  America, 
&  Vice  Admirall  of  the  Same;  his  Majties  Leut.  and  Com- 
mander in  Chiefe  of  the  Militia  and  of  all  the  forces  by 
Sea  and  Land  within  his  Ma  j 'ties  Collony  of  Connecticutt, 
and  of  all  the  Forts  and  places  of  strength  within  the 
Same : 

By  Virtue  of  the  power  and  Authority  to  me  given  by 
his  Maj'tie  under  his  great  Seal  of  England,  I  doe  hereby 
constitute  and  appoint  you,  Jonathan  Smith,  to  be  Quar- 
termaster of  the  Troope  of  Millitia  Horse  Whereof 
Daniel  Whitehead  is  Captaine.  You  are  therefore  carefully 
and  and  dilligently  to  discharge  the  duty  of  Quartermaster 
to  the  said  Troope  by  doeing  and  performing  all  and  all 
manner  of  things  thereunto  bellonging,  and  you  are  to  ob- 
serve and  follow  Such  Orders  and  Directions  as  you  shall 
from  time  to  time  receive  from  me  or  any  other  your 
Superior  officer  or  officers,  according  to  the  rules  and 
discipline  of  Warr,  in  pursuance  to  the  trust  hereby  Re- 


posed  in  you,  and  for  soe  doing  this  shall  be  your  suffi- 
cient Warrant  and  Commission.  Given  under  my  hand 
and  Seal  att  Arms  Att  fort  William  Henry  in  New 
Yorke  on  the  ninth  day  of  Jully  in  the  ninth  year  of  his 
majesties  Reigti,  Anno  Domino  1697. 

Ben  Fletcher. 
By  his  Excellencies  Command. 

Dan  Honan. 

Note. — The  original  of  this  commission  is  in  the  pos- 
session of  Mrs.  Elijah  Smith,  Merrick.  She  also  has  a 
similar  commission  issued  to  the  same  officer,  but  signed 
by  "George  Clinton,  "Admiral  of  the  White  Squadron  of 
her  Majesties  fleet." 

Extract  from  Philip  Hone's  diary : 

January  14,  i8j^. 
"The  rage  for  speculating  in  lands  on  Long  Island  is 
one  of  the  bubbles  of  the  day.  Men  in  moderate  circum- 
stances have  become  immensely  rich  merely  by  the  good 
fortune  of  owning  farms  of  a  few  acres  of  this  chosen 
land.  Abraham  Schermerhorn  has  sold  his  farm  of  170 
acres  at  Gowanus,  three  miles  from  Brooklyn,  at  $600 
per  acre.  Four  years  ago,  having  got  out  of  conceit  of  it 
as  a  residence,  he  offered  it  for  sale  at  $20,000,  and  would 
have  taken  $18,000.  To-day  he  pockets  $102,000  and  re- 
grets that  he  sold  it  so  cheap !" 




Air,  pure 66 

Appendix 73 

Arms,  Theodore 54 

Baldwin,  F.  B 51 

Barker,  Rev.  J.  W.,  D.D... .   54 

Barnum,  Miss 24,  41 

Bartow,  Theodoret 54 

Bergen,  Geo.  W 52 

Birch,  J.  W 63 

Brewer,  Rev.  W.  A 53 

Brooklyn  Water  Works, 

45,  58,  59 

Cammann,  E.  C 55,  63 

Cammann,  H.  H.,  27,  40,  54,  63 
Camp  Meeting  Grounds.  .40,  64 

Carman,  Caleb 27 

Carman,  John,  14,  16,  20,  27,  30 

Carman  family 27 

Carman  &  Foreman 52 

Caroline  Church 55 

Charlton,  Richard 47 

Chegone 17 

Che  Know  19 

Church,  contributors  to 51 

Churches 49 

Burials  in .   50 

Clowes,  Thomas  H 52 

Combs,  Charles  V 52 

Cornelius  Carman 52 

Davison,  Robert  A 52 

Dickie,  Captain 31 


Downey,  Rev.  Wm.  M 54 

Depuy,  Henry  W  15 

Dutch  Peter 13 

EUoson,  Richard 33 

Epitaph 50 

Farret,  Mr 11,  12 

Floatsam  and  Jetsam 45 

Fordham,  Robert 16,  20 

Fox,  Charles 56 

Frost,  Rev.  W.  A.  C 54 

Gildersleeve,  P 54 

Greater  Merrick 15,  34 


II,  13,  14,  16,  18,  19 

Hewlett,  Augustus  J 51 

Hewlett,  Benj 30 

Hewlett,  Benj.,  2d 30 

Hewlett,  Charles 51 

Hewlett,  Charlotte  L 52 

Hewlett,  Col 29 

Hewlett,  Frankie  M  52,  53 

Hewlett,  George, 

24,  30,  31,  32,  51 
Hewlett,  George  M. ,  28, 29, 5 1 ,  54 
Hewlett,  George  T. .  .28,  30,  51 

Hewlett,  John 28,  30 

Hewlett,  Rev.  John  C 52 

Hewlett,  John  J 39 

Hewlett,  Joseph 30 

Hewlett,  Julia  H 52 

Hewlett,  J.  T 51 






Hewlett,  Lewis 28 

Hewlett,  Peter  T 52 

Hewlett,  Whitehead  H 51 

Hewlett,  Mrs.  Whitehead  H.  52 
Hewlett  William  E., 

28,  39,  54,  55,  56,  63 

Hewlett,  Mrs.  Wm.  E  52 

Hewlett,  Mrs.  Wm.  H 52 

Highways 38 

Humphreys,  Wm 31 

Indians 21 

Indians,  Merrick 23 

Industries 44 

Jackson,  John 31 

James,  John 18 

January,  Henry 24 

January,  Sarah 24 

Jeanette 24 

Jennings,  P.  R 41,  54,  63 

Jessup,  Rev.  C.  A 53 

Kent,  Chas.  N 55,  63 

Kent,  Chas.  N.,  Jr 63 

Kent,  Richard  P 55,  63 

Kieft,  Gov 12,  16,  20 

King,  John  A 51 

Kirkwood  Avenue 41 

Lamoree,  John 20 

Lindemere  Avenue 41 

Linne  Settlers 11,12 

Little  John,  Bishop 53 

Little  Merrick 15,  34,  42 

Locke,  Rev.  J.  A 53 

Longevity 31 


Long  Island,  Indian  Name 

for  12 

Lott,  John  1 51 

Lott  Mrs.  John  1 52 

Lottery 46 

Love,  Rev.  W.  W 53 

Lovelace,  Gov 44.  47 

Low,  Wm.  G 51 

Lucky,  J.  E 65 

Martom 19 

Merrick  Avenue 40 

Merrick,  Elvira 15 

Merrick  Library 61 

Merrick,  Mass 15 

Merrick  Path  38 

Merrick  Post  Office 39 

Merrick  Road 38 

Merrick  Water  Co 58 

Miller,  F.  S 52,  54   55 

Miller,  Miss  Lina 63 

Mills 44 

Montauks 20 

Morgan,  Mrs.  Charles 52 

Munn,  Frank  M 52 

Nassau,  Island  of 13 

Nautchie   24 

Neal's  History  of  N.  E 12 

Nicolls,  Gov 12 

Ogden,  John 20 

Olmstead,  Rev.  C.  F 53 

Pees  Komach 19 

Plank  Road 40 

Post,  Birasall 52 




Railroad 56 

Raphael 24 

Raynor,  Capt.  Thos 41 

Raynor,  Joseph 32 

Roddy,  Hugh  V 23,  54 

Roddy,  Mrs.  Hugh  V 51 

Romege iS 

Rumasackromen 18 

Russell,  Rev.  L.  S . . .  53 

Sayasstock 19 

Schools 47 

Seaman,  Benj.  H.,38,  41,  51,  54 

Seaman,  Charity  T 51 

Seaman,  Raynor  P 50 

Searing,  Eliza 51 

Sexton,  Bezal eel 54 

Sexton,  E.  B 52 

Sexton,  Mrs.  Geo.  H 52 

Sheresby,  George 47 

Smith,  Alfred  S 52 

Smith,  Mrs.  Elijah 28,  37 

Smith  family  names 26 

Smith,  Gilbert 45 

Smith,  John 14,  23,  33 

Smith,  John  Rock 26,  33 

Smith,  Jonathan  Rock 34,  35 

Smith,  Joseph 34 

Smith,  Silvanus 34 

Smith,  William  Black  30 

So.  Oyster  Bay  Turnpike. . .  38 

Southampton 12 

Squaw  Betty 24 

Stages 39 


Stamford 14,  20 

Sterling,  Lord 11,  12,  16 

Stricklan ,  John 20 

Strong,  Tom 24 

Sturges,  Jona 29 

Tackapousha 17,  19 

Titles— land i6 

Trinity  Church,  Rockaway..  51 

Trumbull,  Gov 29 

Underbill,  John 24 

Underbill,  John,  Jr  24 

Valentine,  Richard 28 

Valentine,  William 34 

Van  Wyck,  Cornelia 51 

Waautauch 19 

Wangwang. 18 

Wantagh 17 

Washington,  Geo 29 

Waucombound 19 

Welwood,  Arthur 51,  55 

Welwood,  Chas.  A 55 

Whale  Neck  Road 40 

Willetts,  E.  B.,  Jr 63 

Willetts,  Joseph  H 52 

Willetts,  Mrs.  Mary 30,  51 

Willomere  Avenue 41 

Wood,  Jonas 20 

Woronmcacking 18 

Wright,  Mrs.  D.  R 52 

Wright,  Joseph  S 52 

Wright,  Rhoda 52 

Wynsum  Avenue 41 

Yorkshire 13